1. Create Useful & Unique Content
Yes we've all heard content is king. We all know how important it is. So why aren't you creating it? It's so important that it should be a priority so the "I don't have time" excuse doesn't cut it. (For more on how to speed up content creation real fast, click hereclick here)
The other common excuse is "I don't know what to write" but that doesn't cut it either because as a business owner or someone that has worked in your industry for any amount of time you already have all the information you need to write great content. Let me give you the nudge you need to start writing.
How many times do your customers ask the same questions? What do people typically ask about your service? What makes one of your products worth paying more for over another? Turn each of these types of repeat questions into a blog post. Make the Title the question and the content the answer.
And for the love of Navneet Panda don't copy and paste it from somewhere else on the web. Write it in your words, in your own voice from your own unique perspective. Google won't bother ranking your content if they have already indexed it from another site.
Providing useful & unique content that answers potential customer questions will not only attract traffic but it will also establish your site as a trusted source of information and soon turn those prospects into real customers.
2. Write Great Titles
Write enticing, attention grabbing titles that include keywords. You can't win a race you don't show up for. Title Tags are like showing up for the race. If want to give your blog post a chance to win on Google putting the words you want to rank for in your Title Tags is a must.
Title tags tell search engines what your blog post is about and will give you a chance to rank for the words within them. Your title tags also show up on the search engine results page so they can't just be stuffed with the keywords you want to rank for. They need to be enticing and attention grabbing for people so they will to click on them as well.
When it comes to blogging your Title & Headline can be the same or very similar. Be sure your Headline is written in a H1 or at least a H2 tag. Search Engines consider words within a H1 tag more important than those within an H2 and H2's are more important than H3's and so on.
Another thing to consider is that the title and maybe an image is all that people will see when your blog post is shared on social sites like Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin so make sure that the title is something you would want to click on or retweet if you read it. (If you're stuck for titles, click here to generate 100 blog titles for a topic or here for 70+ title templates)
For example if you owned a plumbing business your title could be a commonly asked question like:
Who to call if electrical outlet is leaking water: Electrician or Plumber?
4. Make SEO & People Friendly URL's
Make sure your URL contains readable keywords. The keywords should help describe the content of the article to people and search engines. What you don't want is nonesense like: website.com/ec_PO16U%3Aen-US%3AofficialQw. I often see blogs with just the date it was written as the URL. Don't do this - at the very least use your headline as your URL then If you paid attention to step 2 and put keywords in there then congrats your URL is now optimized!
Example: yourwebsite.com/blog/who-to-call-if-electrical-outlet-is-leaking-water-Electrician- or-Plumber
Even better take the little words like if, is, to and summarize to:
5. Add Cool Pictures
Include at least one captivating image per blog post
- Articles with images get 94% more total views than without (http://www.mdgadvertising.com/blog/its-all-about-the-images-infographic/)
- Facebook, Linkedin and Google+ shares of your blog post may now include an image instead of just plain text that people won't likely notice. The image will make your the post stand out
- Photos have proven to get more likes and +1's and shares than posts without them. On Facebook images get more likes, shares and comments than text, videos or links and its not even close 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook were photos (May 2013)
- Great images will allow your blog to better capitalize on the fact that the fastest growing social media channels (Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram & Pinterest) are image centric
6. Include A Call To Action (CTA)
Include a Call To Action on every blog post. Yes we blog to earn trust, build a following, attract links and drive traffic but the ultimate goal of business blogging is to sell stuff! Unfortunately many of the people that come to your blog will be information seekers and may not be ready to buy yet... You should still include a free quote button and phone number but be prepared for a low conversion rate.
The best performing Call to Actions on blog post will be ones that promise to continue to educate or solve problems for the reader. (These are the 7 Characteristics of Compelling Calls to Action). The goal should be to get readers to connect with your business. Get them to follow on social media or subscribe to your email list so you can continue to build a relationship and eventually sell to them when they are ready to buy.
It be could something as simple as some nice social buttons with a caption like "Follow us for more free plumbing tips" or you could go a step further and created a downloadable document (whitepaper, tip sheet, ebook) like a guide to DIY Plumbing that potential client can download in exchange for leaving their email address.
Look at the bottom of this blog for an example of how Search Engine People uses Calls to Action.
7. Internally Link To Important Pages
Link every new blog post to the most relevant service or product page on your site.
Yes this section is about internal linking but I want start by talking about external links for a moment- stay with me. Despite what some would say Inbound links from other sites are still crucial to a site ranking for competitive keywords. They are still the #1 way Google measures a sites authority. The higher number of Credible Links = More Link Juice = More Authority = Higher Potential to Rank. The trouble is that inbound links for the most part are difficult to artificially build without eventually getting penalized. When natural inbound links do come they typically point to interesting blog content not to the service and product pages that ideally you would like to rank (because they sell stuff) Linking from your blog to your service and product pages help pass on the link juice and traffic that your blog attracts.
8. Promote It
Now that you've written a great piece of content that answers commonly asked questions, taken the time to optimize the Title & URL, added cool images and an irresistible Call To Action it's time to get that hard work out to the people! Build it and they will come doesn't work with blogging until your content has had to some time to get indexed and rank on search engines. So how do you get people to find it in the meanwhile and help search engine index it more quickly? Social Media!
The awesome headline and cool pictures you used really comes in handy now. Make sure your social media shares include the headline and a cool picture - do not write "New Blog Post www.NobodyWillClickOnYourLinkWithNoContext.com"
Sharing on Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin, and Instagram puts your content in front of your followers. These are people who have already shown enough interest in your business to follow you in the first place so there's a decent chance they will like and share your new content.
Another benefit of posting your content to social media is that search engines see these links and it makes them aware that the content exists so that it can be indexed.
I'm a big fan of sharing the same article multiple times with a different picture and a different sub-headline every time. You never know which version will resonate with which followers.
Does It Work?
Try it and see. Individual results will vary but It has worked very well for me. Have a look at the traffic growth for a blog that I started following these steps religiously in April of 2013. You can see a big spike in traffic in the month a started. Last year at this time it was getting around 10,000 visits/month now it consistently gets over 20,000/visits/month. Not bad?
Is this plan really easy?
Do you think you can do this? Tell me in the comments below...
Craig is a SEO Strategist at Search Engine People. He is passionate about SEO, Social Media, football, self-improvement and an 80's cult classic urban Kung-Fu film called The Last Dragon. When he is not working on strategies for SEP clients, cheering on the Philadelphia Eagle or spending time with his family he runs blog dedicated to his aforementioned favourite film: thelastdragontribute.com